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Dr. María E. Reyes was born and raised in Puerto Rico. She received her bachelor’s degree in psychology and a minor in Education from the University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez campus. She obtained her master’s degree in Special Education from Fordham University and her Doctor of Philosophy Degree in Special Education with emphasis in Multilingual-Multicultural Education from the University of Florida. Dr. Reyes has professionally committed to serve the culturally diverse community in exceptional education and their families. Her interest on this population is evident in her professional publications and research projects.

In her research projects, Dr. Reyes has studied the quality of early childhood services for Latino children and compared the needs and sources of support of Latino mothers of young children with disabilities residing in Florida and Puerto Rico. Another contribution to the Latino population was her work to enhance parental involvement in education among Latino parents of children with disabilities.

Dr. Reyes joined UCF in 1997 and she is an Associate Professor with tenure in the School of Teacher Education, Exceptional Education Program. Dr. Reyes is the coordinator of the Exceptional Education minor, and Inclusion Fellow of the Center of Excellence in Elementary Teacher Preparation. She is fluent in both English and Spanish and her cultural background, academic preparation, and research interests provide her with a solid set of skills and competencies as an educator and researcher.

Areas of Expertise

  • Culturally diverse students in exceptional education and their families
  • Teacher Preparation
  • Behavior Management
  • Inclusion


  • Ph. D. Exceptional Education, University of Florida
  • M.Ed. Special Education, Fordham University
  • B.S. Psychology


Dr.Reyes is interested in exploring the needs and sources of support of Hispanic/Latino families of children with disabilities.  She is also interested on inclusive practices including Universal Design for Learning.

Research Centers/Institute/Lab Affiliations

Ongoing collaborative research project with the University of Texas Department of Curriculum and Instruction/Exceptional Students Education Program UCF (2020-2022). This research explores the use of Virtual Reality to Provide Teacher Training in Behavior Management.

The purpose of the research is to investigate the use of virtual reality (VR) to teach prospective educators to use behavior management techniques such as differential reinforcement (DR) to reduce problematic behavior. These studies will compare VR to teaching the same skills using more traditional teaching methods for skills practice and development. Currently, a series of three studies are planned.


  • Member, Exceptional Education Scholarship Committee, (2019-)
  • Member, School of Teaching and Learning, Student Issues Committee (2019- )
  • Member, Puerto Rico Research Hub (2019- )
  • Member, La FaSa (Latino Faculty and Staff/UCF) (2020-)
  • Member, HSI Task Force; Hispanic Serving Institution Task Force (2017-2019)
  • Mentor, LEGACY; Leadership and Mentoring Program (2000, 2008)
  • Member, Undergraduate Student Issues Committee (2019- )
  • Member, Undergraduate Curriculum and Standards Committee (2018-2019)


  • AIM High Award, University of Central Florida, Orlando (2021)
  • Quality Course Badge EEX 4070, University of Central Florida, Orlando (2020)
  • Quality Course Badge EEX 4601, University of Central Florida, Orlando (2019)
  • Teacher Incentive Program (TIP) Award, University of Central Florida, Orlando (2019)
  • Special Recognition for contribution to the Mexican Consulate, Orlando Florida (2018)
  • Twenty Years of Service (2017), University of Central Florida
  • Inclusion Fellow (2017) of the Center of Excellence in Elementary Teacher Preparation, College of Education, University of Central Florida


  • EEX 4070: Teaching Exceptional Students (every semester, online course)
  • EEX 4601: Introduction to Behavior Management ((every semester, online course)
  • EEX 6612: Methods of Behavior Management (graduate online course)
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